Faces of the Gold Coast – Wendy Coombe of Animal Therapies

Faces of the Gold Coast - Wendy Coombe of Animal Therapies

I feel quite humbled in writing this article. Just need to be upfront. The fact I have not heard about Wendy and her fast-growing charity @animaltherapies bewilders me. Why do we know so little about each other in this city?

Wendy is a truly remarkable woman. After suffering a severe physical and emotional breakdown, life decided that her CEO days were over and she would need to focus on her own personal recovery. It was on this long road that she discovered the incredible benefits from interdependence with Jack, her assistance dog. The successes she experienced fuelled her work in addressing a huge deficit… the need for a national register of animal assistance programs so others could benefit also.

Sitting together, my eyes wide open, I was instantly hooked by her comfort. Trauma seems to carve through the bullsh*t of this world and she had me. These moments of clarity are the ones I collect, carrying them in my pocket for other kinds of days.

She shared…

“When Jack became my assistance dog, my world turned from black and white to colour. A diagnosis of stress, anxiety and depression was a dark place. So tough to go from being a competent professional of 30 years to a ball on the floor. Imagine… from a high profile public speaker to being unable to talk without a stutter! You just don’t expect it. Working with Jack as a companion dog and also with horses, opened my world again to conquer my own triggers. Did you know a seizure alert dog can pick up a seizure 45 minutes before it occurs? Powerful stuff! So much potential and that’s how @animaltherapies began… a way to help others by providing awareness and support. It just feels good to turn trauma into something positive”.

Because of Wendy, I think I understand a little more. Yes, definitely about the ‘why and what’ of her work but bigger than that. Changemakers, it appears, is equal parts bold and vulnerable. They are unique. They acknowledge both their courage and fear, their naivety and wisdom, yet know whom to welcome to their table. It’s people like Wendy that keep me believing. That’s an honour and a promise for which there is no substitute.

Thank you, Wendy. Truly grateful for the knowing of you!

Faces of the Gold Coast - Wendy Coombe of Animal Therapies

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